SECRET RADIO | Sept.12.20
Secret Radio Brooklyn | 9.12.20 | Broadcast from the print shop (Hear it here.)
1. Fela Kuti - It’s Highlife Time
Such a cheery introduction to a night at the Afro Spot. There’s an elegance and restraint and Western-facing showmanship that is the exact opposite of what Fela Kuti’s music came to be, but it seems completely sincere — just a different stage of an incredibly productive life.
2. Ros Serey Sothea - Jam 5 Kai Thiet (Wait 5 More Months)
The guitar tones, really all the tones of this song, are so perfect, and the structure is both immaculately pop-shaped and full of gnarly rock distortion.
3. Sylvie Vartan - L’oiseau
Such a piercing chorus! It almost sounds like she’s making a birdcall, and we’ve been really appreciating bird sounds this summer in the woods.
4. Singer Nahounou and T.P. Poly Rythmo de Cotonou Benin - Gbabouo
This is a 1978 T.P. track, so they’re in their prime, with Papillon providing those amazingly beautiful guitar waterfalls. I don’t know anything about Singer Nahounou, but his vocal phrasing is a lot more like the Zimbabwean style of Hallelujah Chicken Run Band than any of the Beninese musicians they more often play with. Someone says it has “a strong Ivory Coast influence,” but I don’t know what that means. I do know that this song makes me dance, and as it goes on you can hear the musicians really stretching out and playing with the essential elements of the groove, all led by the unstoppable Bentho Gustave on bass.
5. Teddy Afro - Atse Tewodros
I don’t know if you’ve had the experience of being halfway through a feast at an Ethiopian restaurant and suddenly realizing that you’ve been loving the music the entire time. For us, that restaurant was Meskerem on South Grand, and the band was Teddy Afro. The best part, though, might be this video, in which a collection of beautiful people do the shoulder dance seemingly all over Ethiopia, in grassy fields and castle walls and city streets, in pairs and trios and teams. It’s completely mesmerizing. Meanwhile, the footage of Teddy Afro’s live show sweeps across a crowd of tens of thousands of ecstatic fans. It’s a glimpse into several worlds I know nothing about — but the music certainly seems to speak a universal language of optimism and hope. Anyone who can tell me whether I’m completely mistaken about that, please do.
6. Francis Bebey - New Track
The way this song gradually coheres from thumb piano to futuristic space jam is a clinic. I could listen to Francis Bebey talk all night.
7. Manu Dibango - Groovy Flute
Our respect to Manu Dibango, who passed on March 24 of this year. He is responsible for giving the world Soul Makossa, which we in the US know as mama say mama sa mamakusa thanks to Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. But MJ didn’t have Groovy Flute.
8. Chantal Goya - D’Abord, Dis Moi Ton Nom
This is from the Godard film Masculin Féminin. If you like this, you’re going to love the WBFF movies broadcast coming soon!
9. Brigitte Bardot - Tu Veux ou Tu Veux Pas
Sleepy Kitty does a version of this song on a 7”. This could be a great song for teaching first-year French — “You want it or you don’t” — including frank attitudes about hooking up.
10. Newen Afrobeat - Upside Down live
Chilean Fela disciples Newen Afrobeat bring their own approach to Fela Kuti’s Upside Down. You can hear how the political urgency of the original translates directly to citizens of a country on the other side of the world. I recently read one of the singers, Macarena, describe the band as a collective that exists to make music and get the word out about the Mapuche people and their mistreatment in Chile.
Like their masterpiece, Opposite People, this is another song that is enhanced by watching the performance. It’s enough to get you dancing just watching the singer wind her way around the stage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=embxt0jQ8f4
11. Antoine Dougbé & T.P. Orchestre - Kovito Gbe de Towe
The arrangement of this song is just stunning to me. The little guitar licks that steal their way between the downbeats, the sick drums, the sudden disco, the arresting tone of voice, the backing vocals, the phasing guitar solo, the breakdown, and those final percussive call-and-response vocals — this track is just flat out the tops. Currently our favorite artist… which means Dougbé, who wrote the song but didn’t sing it, Melome Clement, who arranged it, Papillon on guitar (I think), the incredibly tight drums, the horn section that cuts like a knife, and this whole period of T.P. Orchestre.
Serge Gainsbourg - Aux Armes Et Caetera
When this recording appeared there was a freakin uproar among the French, who were scandalized that anyone would translate the French national anthem into (gasp!) reggae form.
12. Van Goose - Last Bus
Credit due to Jen Meller for telling us long ago that Van Goose was a band to be listening for. We saw them for the first time at Underwater Sunshine in Manhattan and danced so hard that when we heard their next gig was New Year’s Eve, our plans were settled. I get so lost inside this song!
13. Stereo Total - Ringo I Love You
The first two songs that Paige heard of this band were I Love You Ono and Ringo I Love You — as far as we know, they specialize in Beatles-related songs (which is to say we know almost nothing about this band). Both of those songs are perfect expressions of themselves.
14. 張小鳳 (Zhang Xiao Feng) - 我深深地愛上你 (Eight Days a Week)
We know nothing about this band — this track is the result of supposing that a certain thing must exist, and then finding confirmation of its existence. What a strange chordal relation to the original it has.
Harvey Danger - Authenticity
20 years ago this week King James Version came out, which was a really really big day in a really big time in my life. One fine detail I just noticed is that I lived about a mile north of Pike Street 20 years ago, and I live about a mile south of Park Slope today. Which I don’t think me-then would have hated. Anyway I’m still enjoying every damn day, modern horrorshow notwithstanding!
15. Ben Blackwell - Bury My Body at Elmwood
So many times every year where we realize how much we miss Bob Reuter — his radio show, his photographs, his writing, and more than anything the man himself — and this is a song we first heard via Bob’s Scratchy Records.
16. Jacqueline Taïeb - 7 heures du matin
This song kind of encapsulates a lot of what I want this collection of songs to be — a crashing together of cultures that ties back to the universal elements of rock n roll. Jacqueline Taïeb is flat out the coolest.
17. Liev Tuk - Rom Sue Sue (Dance Soul Soul)
Another entry in our James Brown shockwave studies. This is a Cambodian track from the ’60s, so presumably made around the interaction of French and American soldiers with Cambodian citizens… probably mostly in bars near bases? That’s what I picture happening, but I don’t actually know anything about it. I will say that I think Liev brings his own thing to the track, a real animal grandeur.
18. Soumitra & Mousumi Chatterjee - Urbashi Soundtrack - Jogi Jogi
We’ve been trying to learn more about Bengali culture and language from our young neighbors in our building in Kensington. We’re kind of hoping that someone in the building recognizes this song — though it’s equally possible they would look at us like we were crazy. This is a soundtrack to a movie billed as a “thriller” — dig that ’80s keyboard movie-soundtrack solo — and Paige and I have already spent quite a bit of time theorizing, based purely on the music, what sort of movie we’ll encounter when we find it. Also, this is a new earworm you won’t be able to shake. I’d say I’m sorry but I’m not!
19. The Fall - Shoulder Pads
The Fall is one of our very favorite bands — actually, T.P. Orchestre is the first real contender for other favorite band in years — but I’m very aware of the fact that I have pretty much always approached these songs as broadcasts from an alien culture. The decisions that Mark E. Smith made, song after song, are so completely mysterious and thrilling to me, as is the way the band composed, and for the most part they’re talking about British cultural winds that have almost nothing to do with my world. Anytime we play a song by The Fall I feel like I’m in danger of losing myself to only Fall songs for the next month. Tie me to the mast!
20. T.P. Orchestre & Bentho Gustave - Agnon Djidjo (Tu as bon caractère)
This is the final track on Le Disque d’Or, and the melody just feels so full of importance, like something absolutely vital is being transmitted. When we were trying to keep track of songs, I referred to this song as “Benin’s Phil Collins.” Obviously not much overlap, but I do feel like the chorus has PC’s paranoid urgency. As far as Paige can tell, the lyrics are “Je suis heureux de vivre pres de toi jusqu’au le fin du monde,” which would be “I’m happy to be with you til the end of time.” We don’t know if those are the lyrics, but they certainly work for me.
21. Joanna Kulig & Marcin Masecki - Dwa Serduszka
If you haven’t seen the film Cold War, we can’t recommend it highly enough. Also, you should know that it’s devastatingly sad. But right from the opening scene, the music alone is a revelation, and the main actors are enough to make you understand that we’re only seeing a fraction of the world’s charismatic actors in the English-speaking context, o yo yo.
22. Blossom Dearie - Manhattan
Paige has always loved this song, especially because Blossom Dearie is the piano player as well, which is something we think about with Nat King Cole but not necessarily with a singer like her. And now this song seems like a description of the empty streets of Manhattan, and it being such a strange time. Mott Street is different right now — but it’s still New York, and these buildings have been there so long, through World War II, September 11, a lunatic for pres, and now COVID-19. Sadness and optimism: “The great big city’s a wondrous toy.”
Orchestre de la Paillotte - Kadia Blues
A Guinean band created to promote Guinean music.
23. Scott Walker - Duchess
A pandemic discovery for Paige. I always meant to get into Scott Walker. I was in a band in Chicago and the guy whose house we practiced at loved Scott Walker. He kinda looked like Scott Walker. He was living in the ‘60s. He had a word processor. I didn’t get into Scott Walker then, nor 10 years later, but over the last year his music landed, at some point between now and the beginning of the pandemic.
24. Inga - Silver Moon
So weird that this song has been translated from English into German… but they use phrases in English that do not exist in the original. I really want to know more about the circumstances of this translation and arrangement. Inga was a German pop star with excellent eye makeup game.
25. Avolonto Honore - Na Do Sê Kpon Wê
The word “elegiac” exists for occasions such as this. The song feels so sincere, whether with regret, loss, love, or bitter experience. It also sounds like the voice of a father to his son, at whatever age. He sounds wise.
4-5 January, 1840
aft[er]w[ar]ds fr[om] mem[oran]da made on the b[a]ck of Mr. Marc’s note – sat read[in]g ov[e]r ag[ai]n the first pp. [pages]
of Mouraviev – th[e]n so[me] whi[le] w[i]th A- [Ann] till 12 1/4 tonight at w[hi]ch h[ou]r R[éaumur] 10 1/4° b[o]th thermom[ete]rs
on the console and writ[in]g tab[le]t ab[ou]t the sa[me] – n[o]t out today – b[u]t sunshine and appar[entl]y ver[y] fine day –
fine morn[in]g R[éaumur] ver[y] n[ea]r 10° at my bedhead and R[éaumur] ab[ou]t n[o]t qui[te] 9 1/2° on the console at
at 9 1/4 – br[eak]f[a]st in less th[a]n 1/2 h[ou]r at 10 25/·· - in a hurry - - A- [Ann] in a fidget
yet good humoured enough but the pother gave me a bowel complaint but no but
another motion besides the one on getting up off to ch[ur]ch 2 min[ute]s bef[ore] 11 – Mr.
Camidge beg[a]n the 1st less[on] as we ent[ere]d the ch[ur]ch – preach[e]d 1/2 h[ou]r fr[om] Habakuk ii. 14,
a begg[in]g serm[o]n for the ch[ur]ch miss[ionar]y soc[iet]y – gen[erall]y s[e]nds to Eng[lan]d ann[uall]y a sum amount[in]g to
500 roubles – hopes the sum will n[o]t fall short th[i]s y[ea]r – begs anyone to s[e]nd th[ei]r
contribut[io]ns to his h[ou]se dur[in]g th[i]s week – he s[ai]d the the soc[iet]y’s funds were sadly
‘hampered’, b[u]t th[a]t tho[ugh] they c[oul]d n[o]t do all the good they wish[e]d yet still m[u]ch was
done, and good w[a]s progressive, and gr[ea]t talk[e]d of the ‘Efforts adopt[e]d’ by the
soc[iet]y – his serm[o]n n[o]t ver[y] interest[in]g – ho[me] at 12 3/4 – walk[e]d on the boulev[ar]d 55 min[ute]s fr[om] 1 5/··
to 2 – three turns – th[e]n 3/4 h[ou]r wand[erin]g ab[ou]t the frozen market, th[a]t is, the gr[ea]t mark[e]t
for provis[io]ns – all the count[r]y peop[le] th[e]re today being the last of Carême, of
fast[in]g – a crowd[e]d busy scene – all buy[in]g for tomor[row] th[ei]r Xmas [Christmas] day – ho[me] at
[N] 2 56/·· - walk[e]d ab[ou]t the r[oo]ms fr[om] 3 to 4 – th[e]n kind no[te] fr[om] c[ount]ess A[lexandrine] Panin ask[in]g us to go
[N] th[i]s ev[enin]g at six sans cérémonie – a child[re]n’s p[ar]ty – wr[ote] b[a]ck n[o]t to exp[ec]t us bec[ause] engag[e]d
b[u]t if we h[a]d a lit[tle] whi[le] to spare bet[ween] 6 and half past ten, we w[oul]d say how do
you do – th[e]n wr[ote] the ab[o]v[e] of today till now 4 50/·· - din[ner] ord[ere]d at 5 1/2 –
Empal[in]g vid. [vide: see] last p[age] and vid. [vide: see] Mouraviev p[age] 310. ‘A Khiva . . . . .
le pal dont on y fait usage est un pieu à pointe peu Effilée,
a fin qu’il ne tue pas sur-le-champ le patient. On commence
par lui lier les bras & jambes en croix, et quand l’instrument
a pénétré assez avant dans ses Entrailles, on lui délie les members
a fin d’augmenter ses souffrances par les mouvemens que lui font
faire ses douleurs; il reste quelquefois jusqu’à quarante-huit heures
dans cette affreuse posit[io]n, et ne meurt que quand le pieu penetrant
à l’Exterieur, sort près de Épaules, de la nuque ou de quelqu’
autre partie du dos.’ –
[In Khiva . . . . .
the pallet which is used therein is a stake with a slightly tapered point
so that it does not kill the patient immediately. We begin
by linking his arms and legs crosswise, and when the instrument
has penetrated far into his bowels, we untie his limbs
in order to increase his sufferings by the movements that
make him hurt more; sometimes he stays forty eight hours
in this awful position, and he dies only when the penetrating stake
comes out, comes out near the shoulders, the nape of the neck or whatever
other part of the back.’ –
h[a]d just wri[tten] so far now at 5 1/4 and din[ner] in ab[ou]t 1/2 h[ou]r – H[a]d Larne (coiff[e]d us b[o]th) at 6 1/2
at 7 50/·· (8 5/·· by the Howard clock) dr[ove] to pr[ince]ss Olga Dolgorouky – ill – c[oul]d n[o]t rec[eive] tonight –
th[e]n to C[ount]ess A[lexandrine] Panin – the child[re]n’s ball over –
short[l]y go[in]g to ha[ve] pray[e]rs – a few peop[le] th[e]re – coup[le] of lad[ie]s and coup[le] of gents – 1 p[ai]r
w[e]nt away bef[ore] us – w[a]s the remain[in]g gent[leman] the Eng[lish] Ex-attorney now here for
the wint[e]r? ho[me] at 8 1/2 – tea at 9 in 1/2 h[ou]r – h[a]d Grotza and all done at 10 – bed and all
br[ou]ght (as for the last few nights) int[o] the salon – th[e]n r[ea]ding the 3 last papers lent us by
Mr. Camidge the St. James’ Chron[icle] vid. [vide: see] th[a]t fr[om] Nov[embe]r 12 to 14. p[age] 1 col[umn] 6. a pat[en]t grant[e]d
[along left side of page: Aust[ria]n
in Aust[ri]a for an invent[io]n to rend[e]r wat[e]r-proof all descript[io]ns of cott[o]nm wooll[e]n,
and lin[e]n stuffs, by means of wax and cert[ai]n oily subst[an]ces – will prob[abl]y be useful
for wear[in]g appar[e]l – will supersede leath[e]r – be cheap[e]r –
p[age] 3 col[umn] 2 ord[ere]d by the Lords of the Treas[ur]y th[a]t all let[ter]s on and aft[e]r 5 Dec[embe]r last
n[o]t Exceed[in]g 1/2 oz. [ounce] pay one postage = 4 d. [pence]
D[itt]o 1 oz. [ounce] - two postages = 8 d. [pence]
D[itt]o 2 oz. [ounces] - four postages = 1/4
D[itt]o 3 oz. [ounces] - six postages = 2 /. [shillings]
[along left side of page: Postage regulat[io]ns]
and so on add[in]g two postages for ev[er]y oz. [ounce] up to 16 oz. [ounces] bey[on]d w[hi]ch no pack[e]t subj[ec]t
to post[a]ge shall be rec[eive]d all single postages bef[ore] exceed[in]g 4 d [pence] to be reduc[e]d to
4 d [pence] ‘infer[io]r rates to rem[ai]n undisturb[e]d, b[u]t the let[ter]s to be charg[e]d by w[ei]ght
‘all let[ter]s and packages exceed[in]g the w[ei]ght of one oz. [ounce] to be pre-p[ai]d and deliv[ere]d in at the wind[ow] –
‘if n[o]t so prep[ai]d and deliv[ere]d, to be charg[e]d doub[le] post[a]ge
‘For[ei]gn let[ter]s and pack[e]t let[ter]s will be charg[e]d accord[in]g to the preced[in]g scale of w[ei]ghts
‘Let[ter]s to and fr[om] Brit[ish] W[est] Ind[ie]s to be charg[e]d 1 /. [shilling] p[e]r single rate; the sa[me] charge
‘to attach to let[ter]s fr[om] and to Gibralt[a]r, Malta, and the Ion[ia]n Isles convey[e]d by
‘pack[e]t, and n[o]t Transmitt[e]d thro[ugh] Fr[an]ce.’
The quest[io]n of rates on for[ei]gn let[ter]s reserv[e]d for fut[ure] consid[eratio]n – for[ei]gn pow[e]rs to
be communicat[e]d w[i]th in the hope th[a]t they will ma[ke] a correspond[in]g reduct[io]n
in th[ei]r charges on let[ter]s to and fr[om] Eng[lan]d.
‘All ship let[ter]s bet[ween] p[ar]ts of the Unit[e]d K[ing]d[o]m, include[in]g the Channel Isl[an]ds and the Isle
of Man, to be charg[e]d by w[ei]ght and accord[in]g to the rates chargeab[le] on inl[an]d let[ter]s
‘Oth[e]r ship let[ter]s to be charg[e]d by w[ei]ght, accord[in]g to the forego[in]g scale, the single
‘sea postage remain[in]g as at pres[en]t, and the inland rate being regulat[e]d as
‘for inland let[ter]s
Lond[on] District Post, includ[in]g 2 d. [pence] and 3 d. [pence] deliv[er]y
‘All let[ter]s n[o]t exceed[in]g 1/2 oz. [ounce], provid[e]d the post[a]ge be prep[ai]d, to be charg[e]d 1 d. [pence]
‘the 2 d. [pence] charge on gen[era]l post let[ter]s deliv[ere]d in Lond[on] dist[ric]t to cease.
‘no furth[e]r alterat[io]n to be made in the charges leviable in the Lond[on] District post.’
no alterat[io]n made w[i]th resp[ec]t to ‘newspap[e]rs frank[e]d let[ter]s, or parliament[ar]y pap[e]rs, w[hi]ch will
‘still contin[ue] to enjoy the sa[me] privileges, and be subj[ec]t to the sa[me] charges, as at present.’
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